International leaders from around the world are coming together to raise aid for Beirut, five days after the massive explosion which has killed 158 people, injured more than 5,000 and left 300,000 people homeless.
The virtual conference is being led by France, after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the devastated area on Thursday.
The United Nations is helping to host the meeting along with representatives from European Union member states, China, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the UK. The US President said that he will join by phone.
Whenever there is a disaster that captures the world’s attention, there is often an international response – as there should be – but can we be honest for a second? What really happens as a result of these meetings? BTJ has responded to most large international disasters and it is time to be honest about what happens during these aid efforts and, perhaps more importantly, what does not happen.
Here is what one can expect from the meetings today: Western Christian nations will commit to the largest collective financial donations and resources while the other members of the meeting will offer symbolic donations. China and Russia, if they offer anything substantial, will only do so if their donations will somehow leave their nations as beneficiaries.
Once the financial and resource commitments are made, the overwhelming majority of the nations represented at the round table will feel that their responsibility is done. Sadly, donations have a way of making donors feel that their obligation to help has been fulfilled. The problem is that too often, those left to distribute those donations do not have the knowledge or the desire to properly use the international aid in an effective way.
If the money and resources are handed over to the Lebanese government – the money will be squandered by the government. The Lebanese government has already shown themselves to be incompetent with resources. Their country was in a deadly financial crisis prior to the explosion in Beirut. There are currently massive protests in Beirut demanding the current government officials step down.
If the money and resources are handed over to the United Nations, the United Nations (or one of it’s many agencies), will squander the money on meetings, overhead, and bureaucracy. We at BTJ have watched it happened over and over again. UN managers of international aid projects travel in private transportation and rent out entire floors of the most luxurious hotels for planning and security. They take months bringing in expensive, untested engineers and experts to put together plans that, by the time they are ready to be implemented, no longer apply to the situation on the ground and have to be done again. Each phase of the planning and replanning consumes tens of millions of dollars and leaves very little impact on the ground.
And what does the wasted money mean to them? It’s not their money.
But the challenge to making a difference in Beirut does not just rely on the proper implementation of aid donations. The root problem is much deeper.
Poverty, hardship, and the misery index is extremely prevalent in the 10/40 Window (the area between China and Jerusalem), because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is rejected by the governments. The nations in the 10/40 Window actively war against the message of Jesus Christ and their people suffer for it.
The message of Jesus sets the captives free:
“The Spirit of LORD is on me,
because He has anointed me
to proclaim the Good News to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”
The international response can attempt to help, but they cannot truly make a difference because they attempt to help in their own strength. The only way to truly help in disasters like that in Beirut is to bring aid TOGETHER, in the love of Jesus Christ.
Independent Christian organizations are the best way to support relief efforts because they are invested in every dollar donated and every person that they help. It is more personal. It is more intimate.
In the aftermath of the blast in Beirut, BTJ immediately responded by providing emergency care packages to those in need. We feel that it is our duty to not just preach the Good News with words alone, but to show the people that Christians are ready to help in even the most dire situations.
Through the support of BTJ Gatekeepers, BTJ is responding today with immediate aid. To become a GateKeeper to help during this time of trouble, click here.
If you would like to support the effort in Beirut, you can click here.